Tennessee baseball standout Robert Hassell III 'a freak' at the plate

THOMPSON’S STATION, Tenn. — Robert Hassell III isn’t tired of baseball.

Nothing is burning out the senior outfielder and ace pitcher at Independence.


He spent this past summer traveling the country and abroad to play the sport. He played in some of the best major league parks in the country. He played against the best players in the country his age.

And then he went overseas and played against the best players his age – period.

“There are sometimes when it’s good to have a break,” Hassell said. “But I wouldn’t say there has been a time when I said, ‘I can’t do it.’

“Personally, I could be out on the field every day.”

That’s bad news for opposing teams.

Hassell, The Tennessean’s 2019 Baseball Player of the Year, is expected to sign with Vanderbilt during the signing period that begins Wednesday. Vanderbilt recruited him as a two-way player – outfielder and pitcher.

Baseball America lists him as one of the top 10 high school baseball prospects for the 2020 MLB Draft, and ranked him in August as the No. 14 high school prospect.

“As a hitter, he’s the best I’ve seen (in high school),” Summit coach Chad Kirby said. “Kes Carter, back at Ravenwood in 2008, that’s the closest thing.

“He’s a freak. He can run, hit, hit for power. He’s got the best strike zone recognition that I’ve ever seen.”

Hassell, who was the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019,  hit .423 with 14 home runs and eight doubles this season. He stole 22 bases and had 36 RBIs from the leadoff spot.

On the mound, Hassell was 5-2 with a 1.07 ERA and struck out 113 batters while walking just 21 in 59 innings pitched.

“He could be a draft pick on the mound,” Independence coach Mike McLaury said. “But he’s just a better draft pick in the field.”

Read the rest of the story at the Tennessean.


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